Forest of Dean

We’ve ridden these fat bikes on local trails and they have made us grin a lot, making samey trails seem more exciting so the natural next thing to do is to try them at a trail centre. As the weather has been biblically wet lately we decided on a pretty much all weather track in the Forest of Dean. You could tell the weather had been bad as we got there just before 10am and was still able to park in the main car park. a bit of traditional car park faffing and a cuppa later and we were off into the forest, first tacking the new “freeminers” trails. This was very rooty, very twisty with some testing climbs. Tough going on the heavy fatbike, but at least i had 20 gears, Dan was limited to 10. The ascents were greasy and contained lots of exposed roots which, even though there were a few slips were conquered easily by the fat tyres. There are a series of wooden drop offs that Dan gave a good go at proving airtime is possible even on a bike as heavy as these but just after he noticed air leaking around the rim of the wheel, a puncture! the first fat wheel puncture we’ve had.
The big problem was the mulefut rim, the tyre was so well seated to it we couldn’t get it off, two 6ft+ blokes wrestling with the tyre for 215 minutes with an assortment of levers, tools and swearing couldn’t get it off! Luckily a short cut back to the visitor centre bike shop enabled us to borrow a pair of enormous tyre levers and Dan eventually managed to prize the tyre off. If he ever decides to go tubeless it’ll be a breeze with these rims!
Puncture fixed we returned to the forest and rode the entire Verderers trail, checking strava afterwards i got personal bests on two climbs and the final descent which amazes me as other visits have been on a full suspension 29er but the most surprising is that I felt so battered at the end from the roughness of the trail on a rigid bike. I need to look at tyre pressures but it’s a fine line between cushioning and rolling resistance. At times i tought my kidneys were going to detach and my arm muscles were just flailing about, I’m still sore two days later!
So, trails centres on a fat bike?, the numbers speak for themselves i guess, I’m quicker! I passed a few people! (i got passed by a few too though) i got a little amount of air over some of the table tops and despite the beating I took I was still smiling at the end which afterall is what it’s all about
Ride 160
10 miles
Total 3226
commute 884
(picture by Dan Phillips)

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